As home prices in the western U.S. continue to climb, candidates for the California governorship are offering up solutions to tackle the crisis. At a recent conference in Sacramento hosted by the advocacy group Housing California, six leading gubernatorial candidates spoke on the costs of new homes and rising rates of homelessness in their state.
Data from the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index shows that the western U.S. is home to some of the hottest markets in the country, and the candidates for governor will undoubtedly be expected to address these housing concerns.
Former San Francisco Mayor and frontrunner Democratic candidate Gavin Newsom has pushed for 3.5 million homes to be built within seven years, which his rivals have called “unrealistic.”
"The problem with being audacious is no one thinks it can be done," Newsom said.
Other Democratic candidates, including Antonio Villaraigosa and John Chiang, have called for similar drastic programs. Villaraigosa suggested increasing the current housing subsidy from $4 billion to $6 billion, while Chiang set a building goal similar to Allen’s, which he capped at a more “realistic” 1.6 million units within a decade.
Republican candidates John Cox and Travis Allen, however, view government housing subsidies as more detrimental than helpful, noting the high taxpayer cost such programs would bring.
"The California Democrats do not need to saddle Californians with even more debt,” said Allen. “This is the entirely wrong approach.”
Cox proposed that the first step toward more housing was to eliminate some of the environmental and other regulations in order to reduce costs and time involved in construction.
"They can subsidize a few thousand homes somewhere and that might help a few thousand people," Cox said, "but it's not going to help the hundreds of thousands who are living day-to-day spending 40 to 50 percent of their income on housing."